The Uninsured Die at Home
In Ohio on Thursday Mitt Romney told The Columbus Dispatch’s editorial board that “We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack.’ … We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” Rachael Acks, a former EMT, writes that actually, we do have people dying in their homes because they don’t have insurance. Her essay is powerful. An excerpt:
“Sometimes you get a call out to one of the little trailer parks, because people do live here even though no one really wants to, and it’s for chest pains, possible heart attack. It’s an older man in a uniform (you decide what kind) pale and sweaty and shaking, his face like dough. He’s got a crocheted afghan in a startling color combination covering his lap, and his wife (you guess she’s the one who made it, she’s got that look) wrings her hands nearby. She’s the one that called you. He’s as mad as he can manage when he can barely breathe.
“The paramedic hooks up the EKG.You don’t know how to read the bouncing lines, but even you know it’s not good. Okay, let’s go. We need to get you to the hospital.